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Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Page: 5643

Mr OAKESHOTT (1:02 PM) —My question is a follow-up to the question that I asked the Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts, and I acknowledge Central Coast members also in the chamber who may have an interest in this. It is in relation to the coastal erosion issue. The gossip train in Canberra is alive and well with concerns in regard to any response to the Jennie George report from October 2009. We spent, I think, at least one question time talking about how important this report was. It was seen as a seminal moment to see the Commonwealth finally engaging in this topic of coastal erosion under the broad banner of climate change. It sat nicely alongside the moral challenge of our time and to some degree was seen as the legal challenge of our time. There is concern now that the government is not going to respond prior to the election. I would appreciate any feedback to the contrary and, if so, any details in regard to that feedback on the recommendations.

As well, just to put it in a broader context, I reaffirm from my position representing the mid-North Coast that there is a great deal of disappointment that we have seen the dropping of the ball on an affordable and secure energy mix for the future. Putting a price on carbon would have allowed for some mitigation funds in regard to topics like coastal erosion. Now that we have not done that, we are exposing ourselves on a range of issues, and the coastal erosion issue is the most obvious one for the mid-North Coast communities. Houses are being demolished right now. It does matter right now. It would be pretty cost-efficient for government to respond, I would have thought, at least before any dollars are committed. It would be extremely disappointing if this were just the latest chapter of government talking up a topic and then walking away.